I’ll be honest, I’m a soppy romantic, but as much as I love Valentine’s Day (even though of course it’s a commercial gimmick), the whole manufactured element really isn’t my thing. Although I do take great pleasure in buying creative gifts and making little homemade surprises for Mr STG on Vally Day (and this year we are celebrating with a cheese fondue at home!) as a concept, it doesn’t sit comfortably with me to promote on the blog.
Personally, I prefer my love and romance year-round, expressed in small ways daily, and surprising ways unexpectedly. But that’s just me, and I knew I couldn’t get away with ignoring Valentine’s Day, of all things, on a wedding blog. So I’ve decided to tell you about the top 10 most romantic restaurants in the world that I’ve had the pleasure of dining at together with Mr STG, but do note, that not one of these dinner dates fell on Valentine’s Day!
I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of myself and Mr STG eating at all of these restaurants as we were most probably too busy enjoying the experience…but I’ve posted the ones that we did take!
The restaurants are listed in the chronological order that Mr STG and I dined at them.
I’d love to hear your recommendations too – tell me, what’s the most romantic restaurant in the world that you’ve ever dined at?
1. Meeru Island restaurant, The Maldives
Mr STG and I took our first ever holiday together in The Maldives in December 2011. Meeru combines everything that the Maldives is famous for; gorgeous sun, expansive sparkling seas, an unbelievably relaxing vibe, and white sandy beaches. Needless to say we had a thoroughly good time, and felt on top of the world spending every evening sitting right by the water, dining on the freshest fish, seafood, and steak. What we loved most about this restaurant was it’s casualness – Mr STG dined barefoot every evening! Whereas I could dress up or down according to how I felt. We had a truly magical time at Meeru, and have the most amazing memories of our time there.
Top: Mr STG and I just before dinner one night :: Bottom: A typical scene at Meeru
2. Chetzeron, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Chetzeron is truly special – it’s a restaurant converted from an old ski lift station tucked away deep in the Swiss mountains with uninterrupted views along the Rhone Valley towards Mont Blanc. The interior is smart and cool – all steel, glass, wood and stone, but it’s outside on the deck that you really want to dine. Mr STG and I only ever ate lunch there, mid-ski, during our 2012 ski trip to Crans Montana, but lunch at Chetzeron was taken almost every day – we just couldn’t resist its charms! And who says you can’t have a romantic dinner for two dressed in salopettes and clunky ski boots?
Top: I’m certainly very happy to have arrived at Chetzeron! :: Middle: Mr STG and I posing on the slope adjacent to Chetzeron just after lunch :: Bottom: The deck at Chetzeron
3. Manta Ray, Tel Aviv, Israel
We traveled to Israel in April 2012 to spend Passover with my extended family who live in Tel Aviv. Whilst there I delighted in showing Mr STG all my favourite haunts, including Manta Ray, a beautiful restaurant at the southern, beachy end of Tel Aviv. and my very favourite restaurant in the city. The tables outside, just a few feet away from the sea on Alma beach, are the best picks, and the setting is utterly breathtaking with a spectacular view of the sunset if you time it right.
The cuisine at Manta Ray is a melange of Eastern European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures that features fish, seafood, meats, and Israeli vegetables grown year-round, but the most amazing thing about this place is the variety of mezze and starters. Everything is delicious! It’s worth pointing out that Manta Ray does great breakfasts too (why only dine romantically in the evening?) although the real magic at Manta Ray is for lunch or dinner to sample their superb fish and seafood.
Top: my instagram of our mezze starters :: Bottom: the interior of Manta Ray
4. Le Caprice, London
A firm favourite of ours, Mr STG and I have dined at Le Caprice, a West End institution, far too many times than we dare count. It’s tucked away in a side street behind the Ritz and it’s an elegant combination of glam, stylish, discreet, and dare I say it, old school – but all the better for it!
We always get the warmest of welcomes from Jesus Adorno, the director who is very much the “face” of Le Caprice, having worked at the restaurant from the first day it opened in 1981. Everything from the food to the cocktails to the service is absolutely first class, and the desserts are some of the finest I’ve ever tasted. Pass on the renowned iced berries in hot white chocolate sauce at your peril! Le Caprice is definitely a trusted favourite of ours, and in my opinion, has to be sampled at least once in a lifetime.
Le Caprice, London
5. The Cliff, Barbados
Dining at The Cliff provided us with an unbeatable open-air setting on a coral cliff top above a small cove. We sampled it during our trip to Barbados in December 2012 and whilst the backdrop was simply astonishing, the prices were pretty jaw-dropping too! Never mind… we were on holiday, and the food is that good, I still remember what I ate (and how delicious it was) two years later. Watching the illuminated ocean, surrounded by fire beacons burning as we dined, this restaurant was definitely romance personified, and certainly deserves its place in my top ten.
Top: A very fuzzy picture of Mr STG and I just outside The Cliff restaurant :: Bottom: The Cliff
6. Ristorante Bagni Delfino, Sorrento, Italy
We chose to holiday in the Amalfi Coast for our honeymoon in April 2013, and we frequented Delfino several times during our trip. Being owned by a wonderfully warm family (it has been with the Gargiulo family since it first opened in 1968), we fell in love with the friendly, summery vibe and the surrounding view of the Bay of Naples. I know, I know, my top 10 is full of beachside restaurants – I’m a sun baby!). The seafood was some of the finest and freshest we’ve ever tasted, and don’t get me started on those divine pasta dishes. I’m literally salivating as I type! Delfino was definitely the most memorable dining experience for us in the Amalfi Coast for all the right reasons.
Top: A fuzzy image of Delfino, Sorrento – excuse the image quality! :: Bottom: a typical view of the stunning Bay of Naples
7. La Fontelina, Capri, Italy
My oh my, where do I start with La Fontelina? Halfway through our Amalfi Coast honeymoon, Mr STG and I decided to hire a boat, and sail to Capri for the day, and this turned out to be one of the best days that we have ever had! After a little bit of research we decided that La Fontelina, located on a rocky shore opposite the Faraglioni, would be our Capri lunch spot, and boy, did we enjoy our time there.
La Fontelina, at its core, is a private beach club, and when you arrive, you are assigned a cabana boy who supplies you with towels, chairs, umbrellas, iced coffees – whatever takes your fancy! It’s a compact area and there is no real beach – just alcoves and rock formations – kind of a rocky-beach swimming hole, but for us that was part of the charm. We took a dip in the sea which was wonderfully refreshing, and then headed to the restaurant for lunch.
Everything was incredibly fresh, from the bread to the sublime main courses. We particularly enjoyed the white sangria and exquisite seafood spaghetti.
La Fontelina is a great place to spend an unforgettable day. In my mind, definitely one for the bucket list!
Top: Sailing to Capri! :: Middle: Staring at the view from La Fontalina :: Middle: Posing at the entrance to La Fontalina :: Bottom: La Fontalina at night
8. Chateau Bagnols, Bagnols, Beaujolais, France
During the summer of 2013, Mr STG and I went on a fabulous road trip through France, and experienced some amazing adventures. Our highlight was a 3 night stop at the utterly glorious Chateau Bagnols, which we found thanks to the Mr & Mrs Smith website.
The spectacular 13th-century Chateau Bagnols has conical towers, dry moats and a drawbridge entrance, and manages to provide that feeling of real luxury in a wonderful historic context which it hasn’t over modernised. Simply put it was a total treat to be there and the dinner in the restaurant was probably one of the best we’ve ever had. We sat on the terrace with magnificent views of the vineyards, enjoying French culinary excellence from the Beaujolais and Lyon regions.
Chateau Bagnols was utterly outstanding in every way and I am very keen to return…
The restaurant at Chateau Bagnols
9. The Wolseley, London
The Wolseley has a spectacular listed interior and buzzes from early till late, seven days a week. It was originally constructed in 1921 as a car showroom for Wolseley Motors, and subsequently served as a branch of Barclays Bank between 1927 and 1999. It reopened as a restaurant in 2003 after extensive renovation work, and boy does it impress. As breathtaking as the interior is, it’s the service and food that are truly jaw-dropping, and it’s without question, another of our London top spots.
The attention to detail is remarkable, and despite being a “formal” environment, there is no arrogance or snobbery. The menu ranges from oysters, steak tartare and soufflà© suisse, to wiener schnitzel and grilled halibut with wilted spinach and bà©arnaise to creme brulà©e and apple strudel.
The Wolseley holds a special place in our heart as we went there for spontaneous afternoon burgers the day before our daughter, Sacha, was born in November 2013. She was already a week overdue and we thought, let’s do something indulgent and spontaneous on what could be our last Saturday afternoon as just the two of us. We did just that and we cherish that lovely memory.
The Wolseley, London
10. Berners Tavern, London
Finally I want to tell you about the à¼ber glam Berners Tavern, a vast and glamorous dining room, with a wow factor, situated in Ian Schrager’s London Edition Hotel. Mr STG and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary there in April 2014, and whilst the food isn’s the very best I’ve ever had, the restaurant space is astonishingly beautiful and the whole experience was one of a fabulous occasion. We enjoyed a cocktail or three in the Punch Room bar first, and subsequently had a very romantic first anniversary dinner in the restaurant. It most definitely deserves its place in my top 10.
Top: Berners Tavern :: Bottom: My instagram of our table at Berners Tavern…. great cocktails!
Bonus: cooking at home!
I hope you’ll forgive my cheesiness and let me add this in – there’s really nothing better than when Mr STG gets into the kitchen and rustles up a lovely home-cooked recipe, especially his incredible roast chicken. For me eating together at home is one of the most romantic places in the world. I know that’s a gushy thing to say, but it is Valentine’s Day after all. Happy Vally Day everyone – may you give and receive lots of love this Valentine’s Day… and every day.
Mr STG cooking at home in our kitchen